Magick with a “K”

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It seems as if my pens, paper and computer have lain dormant for quite a while.  As I relaxed on the sofa this evening after a day of hiking, I could feel my thoughts bringing the past few weeks together into a blog post.  I peeled back the blanket I had been napping under and made my way to my desk…all under the grimacing face of a little blue chihuahua who had made himself far too comfortable nestled in the crook of my leg.

I made myself a promise at the beginning of 2015.  I vowed that I would spend more time living life…experiencing new things…going on new adventures.  I had started seeing life as too routine…a little too mundane.  I was starting to settle into middle agedom.  It was becoming far too easy just to come home, put on pajama pants and crash mindlessly in front of the television.

My partner and I had planned a trip to Orlando with some of his family.  The planning all came to fruition a couple of weeks ago.  We had made arrangements to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World.  I am a huge Potter nerd, so that part of the trip was for me and me alone.  My partner was so patient as I rattled on about the movies and books.

We got to Universal early that morning.  I practically flew through the park…I had to locate Diagon Alley.  As I rounded one corner, there was the Night Bus.  Stan Shunpike was standing next to it with the shrunken head in the window.  It wasn’t exactly easy finding the entrance to Diagon Alley, so we engaged the young man in conversation.

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He directed us toward the entrance. As I moved through the brick wall, my breath caught in my throat.  It was a sight like I have never seen.  It felt as if I had just come home after a long, long trip.  All around me was whimsy and magic and  all things fantastical.WWoHP-Diagon-Alley1

 

My partner stood back and smiled as he watched me run from store to store…gazing in all the windows.  He told me later that the only thing missing was the broom…otherwise, I was flying on my own.  We went on the Gringott’s ride, we wondered through the shops.  We stepped into the line for Ollivander’s Wand Shop.  Even with the children in line, there seemed to be a type of reverence as we stood there.  We were ushered into the heart of the shop and an older woman was chosen for the wand ceremony.  Her excitement could hardly be contained as the birch wand with the dragon’s heart string chose her.  Then as we were taken into the purchasing area, I chose Sirius Black’s wand…interactive of course.

I made my purchase and my partner and I went to lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.  The traditional English fare and butterbeer had us stuffed to the gills.  As I looked at the stack of cauldrons beside me, Jay announced that he needed to use the facilities.  We walked over toward the restrooms and I wandered into the beastiary.  I walked outside to try my wand with the interactive windows and saw a little girl wildly waving her wand at the window.2015-03-10 12.49.57

 

I watched the little girl as she dropped her arms down by her side and her chin went to her chest.  I heard her say, “I guess I’m just not magical.”  It broke my heart.  I couldn’t stand the thought of someone whose heart was so excited about all the magic around her (whether it is an illusion or real) thinking that there was no magic in her at all.  I knelt down beside her and held her arm and wand toward the window.  I told her that all she needed to do was to picture the magic happening with all she had.  As she made the motion toward the window, the bird stopped singing and toads began to move.  Her eyes lit up and she yelled out, “I do have it!  I do have magic!”  Her mother came up to me a moment later and told me that she really appreciated the kindness I had shown her daughter and that now even she believed there really was magic in the world.2015-03-10 17.42.35

The past few weeks have found me at Hogwart’s, Diagon Alley, and every part of the Magic Kingdom.  I have seen children and adult’s alike excited by the very thought of magic being real.  At the end of the day, I was able to hold on to that excitement because magick encompasses every area of my life.  It swirls around me and within me on a daily basis.  Many people have asked me why I spell magick with a ‘k.’  A friend posted something on Facebook that said it best:magick

 

 Didn’t we all grow up entranced by the illusion?  Isn’t that what first brought us to magick in the first place?  That thought…that hope….that somehow, someway….it all has to be real…isn’t that what motivated us to find our way to the Craft.

To others we may seem odd…eccentric.  After all, we believe in spells and energies and potions and all manner of magickal beings.  So what?  I am who I am.  I am a witch.2015-03-28 22.04.08

 

Last night, I fell asleep in the woods.  I went to the woods after a stressful day at work.  I left my cell phone and anything else that might remind me of the modern world behind.  I wrapped myself in my cloak and made my way to that familiar spot in the woods.  I dug out a hole and surrounded it with stones and built a small fire.  I stared at the sky and felt the cold ground beneath me as I called out to the elements and the goddess to clear my mind and awaken me to the sounds of the earth around me.  I remember starting to count the stars.  I awoke at midnight with the fire completely gone and a chill to my bones….but I was relaxed.  It was as if the earth herself soaked up the stress of the day and pushed her own strength into me.

I woke up early this morning to go hiking at Red Top Mountain State Park.  I went with friends and we took a picnic lunch.  There was no agenda….just a need to escape into nature and re-connect.  We walked, we laughed, we absorbed earth, wind, and water energy….we soaked up the fire energy of the sun.  For today…magick rushed around us.  We could all feel it sweep the week away and usher in renewal.  2015-03-28 11.54.30 HDR

 

We got back to the condo and our bodies called for rest.  We each snuggled under blankets and let our minds be captured by dreams.  I dreamed of the magick of the moon…the stars…simple things that hold far more magick than they are credited for.  Sometimes letting ourselves be swept away in the magick of those simple things is some of the most powerful magick around.2015-03-28 22.55.22

 

Blessings my dear friends.  Blessings.

Having a Morrigan Morning

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This morning, as Friz and I made our way to the woods just before sunrise, I could smell the dampness in the air.  It was coolish…our nights have had lows in the twenties this week.  It seemed as I walked, that I was walking in slow motion.  The trees were stark looking against the dark morning sky.  You could smell the earth going dormant with every footstep. As I looked around me, I could see the toll that the below freezing temperatures had taken.  Rose bushes and plants had that wilted and defeated look about them.  I could tell that the Goddess was preparing for her winter’s death-sleep.

The crows have been more prominent lately.  My partner told me the other day that he watched as a crow flew above him with a McDonald’s bag with two other crows on his tail.  He asked me what the significance of this was.  I was at a loss.  I said, “He was hungry?”  He was not amused.  The sad thing is that the poor crow dropped the bag and the two hamburgers he managed to pilfer fell to the ground and the other two crows attacked them ferociously.2014-10-02 12.49.53

Although I follow the path of the Morrigan year-long, I know that in these months that the world grows darker that she is more prominent.  The Morrigan is often seen as the goddess of death…but she is also the goddess of fertility.  So as the earth goes into its own death-sleep, she is the one planting those seeds of rebirth as it sleeps.  I have seen her do the same in my life.  As one vision dies, she is busy planting that seed for new visions….and giving me strength for the battle.  I have found that the more I work with her, the easier it is  to allow her to control certain areas and for me to take myself out of the picture.

The thing that I keep in the forefront of my mind, is that the hero was never slain at the hands of the Morrigan…unless he refused to acknowledge her sovereignty.  I have found that she fights alongside of me daily.  The issues I face may sound trivial to some, but she is willing to take up her sword for and with me.  She is willing to offer me wings.  I have always said that we are all born with wings, but we let the world steal them.  I remember a quote from the movie Maleficent:

I had wings once, and they were strong. They could carry me above the clouds and into the headwinds, and they never faltered. Not even once.

We allow the circumstances and people that come against us to steal those wings.  We then spend more time grieving over the loss than seeking out a way to fly again.  The Morrigan is that way of soaring.

As Friz and I sat in the midst of the trees stripped bare of their foliage, I listened for the heartbeat of the universe around me.  I was greeted by a crow caw…loud and coarse and crackled.  I looked above me and I could see Mama Crow against the gray sky.  There were three or four other crows with her…each cawing back and forth to each other.  It reminded me of listening to my grandmother and her sisters gossiping when I was growing up.  They would lean back and throw out their harsh, cracked belly laughs for everyone to hear.

I placed my crow skull on the ground in the middle of a circle of stones I had made.  I pulled out my small cauldron and placed a charcoal disc inside.  I burned it with my lighter until it was white hot and then I put some of the Morrigan incense I have on it.  I light the red tealights I brought.  At this point, I rubbed some of the Ave’s Flying Ointment that I had bought from Sarah Anne Lawless, on each temple.  The scents of amber, dragon’s blood, juniper, rosemary and thyme encircle me.  As my little blue chihuahua sleeps in my lap, I fall into an almost trance-like state…so many friends and family in so many battles right now.  I begin to chant:

Morrigan, Morrigan…Goddess of change,

Strengthen me and those I cherish with the power to fight those battles that come against us head-on.

Goddess of fertility, birth in us new visions and plant the seeds for new magick.

Goddess of shapeshifting…help our spirits to transform into whatever we need to face our enemies.

Morrigan, Morrigan…Goddess of battle,

We stand ready to fight.

Circumstances, disease, ourselves.

We will emerge victorious!

A slight breeze begins to blow.  I listen to the rhythm of the trees as they softly sway.  They seem to sing to me as I wrap myself in the magick all around me.  It is amazing the lessons we can learn from nature.  The trees bend to the breeze rather than fight it.  Nature doesn’t fear the cold that winter brings, it adapts to it.  It takes that time to rest and regenerate.  The trees whisper to me…”Learn our lessons…move when you need to. Stand strong when required. At the end of life is when you lie down and return to the earth.”2014-11-16 16.07.45

 

While my eyes are closed, I hear the sounds of nature around me….birds and breezes, leaves being rustled by small animals.  I open my eyes and and the air around me chills me to the bone.  I notice that Friz has edged closer to the candles and the cauldron but still manages to stay covered in my cloak.  In that moment, I feel like if I leaped toward the sky that a pair of strong, powerful wings would burst forth from my body and I would soar high above the trees.

Mama Crow is still above me.  I think I entertain her…but she has become accustomed to me.  My heart is racing…my spirit yearns for its wings.  Soon…very soon…I will fly beside Mama Crow.

Blessed Be!

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Finding Our Voice and Testing the Wind

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As much magick as I know resides in me, over the past two weeks, I have been reminded just how mundane my body is.  I have been nursing a sprained ankle (which, by the way, I have not slowed down for in the least), feeling the various aches and pains that come with aging, broken out from the stress of a sick cat, and felt more of a hunger for sleep because of a friend’s cat who is dealing with cancer.

It seems that the physical has been the part of me that interrupts more than anything else.  Last weekend, my partner and I went on a long weekend mountain trip with eight other friends.  During the trip, we walked, climbed….constantly.  My body ached under the stress of its own weight.  I pushed on.  I could feel my ankle giving under the pressure as I slid down a portion of the mountain.  The swelling later told me that my suspicions were true…a sprain. 2014-10-16 13.43.10

We drove through the Cherokee reservation.  Off to the side of the road, we saw elk.  As we pulled the cars over, I was reminded of the strength of the elk.

Elk’s medicine includes stamina, strength, sensual passion, respecting those of your gender, ability to pace oneself in tasks, agility, nobility.

Elk’s medicine will teach us how to make the best use of our energy, helping us to take on no more than we need to accomplish, and to persist on our chosen route until we have fulfilled our goals. Don’t try to rush – pace yourself. You may not necessarily be the first to arrive, but you will arrive without being burnt out.

Possessing tremendous stamina, elks are able to run for a very long time. They are powerful with strong reflexes, responding speedily to anything that appears on their path. Elks are very alert and can sense danger the moment it arrives and can show us how to become more observant of subtle energies. Elks are temperamental and unpredictable, subdued one moment and aggressive the next.

 

As I studied these strong, graceful animals, I silently whispered to the Earth Mother to give me the attributes of the Elk.  I slept the rest of the ride into the mountains, dreaming of Elk the entire rest of the way.

We arrived at our mountain cabin mid-evening on Thursday.  While we were out on Friday, I get a text from the roomie, who is watching the fur-kids.  One of the cats is urinating in the bathtub and there is blood in it.  In that moment, I am ok.  It is probably the female and a course of antibiotics will clear it up.  I continue through the activity of the day (hiding the pain in my ankle as best I can).  One of our stops was Dollywood.  While everyone else was interested in the outfits in her museum, I was out among the birds in her raptor rehabilitation program.  My partner found me outside talking to a large crow named Poe, telling him what issues I had been smacked up side the head with.2014-10-17 13.56.08

Later that evening, I get another text…it is the male cat, Merlin.  I panic.  Male cat + UTI + Blood = Blockage.  I was in a frenzy the rest of the night.  We agreed that the roomie would take him to the vet the next morning.  In the meantime, I am concentrating on how early we need to leave to go back home.  I post on Facebook for all my witchy friends to send energy to my poor cat.  I text a few that I know will pour energy into him.  I set off by myself into the woods of the mountains in the dark.  In hindsight, I probably should have thought about bears, mountain lions, etc, but my cat needed me.

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I pulled my mini cauldron out of my backpack, along with my crow skull and the cat’s skull that I have.  I lit candles and incense and I called out to the Morrigan and to Bast.  Actually it sounded more like wailing to start…then I remembered a dear friend of mine who had asked me to sing out to Bast in the mountains for her and her own cat who had crossed over earlier in the week.

I started to sing…it sounded to my ears like the voice of the Cherokee…the ancients.  I felt as if the spirits of my ancestors had gathered around me in a circle. I know that this time of year allows communion with those who have moved into another station of existence.cherokee

 

The more I chanted and sang, the more power I could feel surging through me.  I could feel the energy of hundreds of grandmothers and grandfathers who had gone before.  I never thought that I would ever feel that energy by myself.  I had felt it at Powwows and in drum circles, but never alone.  The energy pressed around me.  I sang and wept. I could feel the heat rising from the deepest part of my spirit.

In those moments, the fear was gone.  Nothing would touch me in the midst of all that energy.  I was encompassed by Bast, the Morrigan, and more ancestors than I could have imagined having.  No bear or mountain cat would dare interrupt that energy.  I could feel myself almost leaving my own body….moving into the plane of the others, but still stationary.  I knew that everything would be alright.  I felt the release.  I packed up and went back to the cabin.  I fell on the bed.

My wake up call the next morning was a text telling me that Merlin would be fine and that antibiotics would clear the infection up.  My call to the woods that same morning was a time of gratitude.  I danced with my ancestors.  I blessed Bast and the Morrigan.

My friend Maluna said it best,

Some are children of The Morrigan….we have the wings of black etched on our souls…we travel through life and face whatever comes…but then…we come into ourselves, face ourselves….the wings unfurl…spread…glistening black…sparkling with drops of fire….we find our voice, we test the winds…we fly. We soar. It’s time. Make it your time. BB

 

I still ache.  I am still breaking out.  I am still tired…and I am still hobbling around….but I have found my voice.  It is the voice of my ancestors…the grandmothers and grandfathers who came before me.  I test the winds…I fly…higher than I ever thought possible.  I soar…and yes, this is my time!

Blessed Be!

 

The Resurgence of the Cunning Man

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I have been reading quite a bit lately.  The book that has been the focus of my attention is called, “The Cunning Man’s Handbook” by Jim Baker.  This book covers the practices of the English Cunning Man from years 1550-1900.  It covers the evolution of the cunning folk and the progression of their magick.  These were the healers, charmers, and magicians of the day.  It even discusses the relation to the African practice of Hoodoo.

The cunning folk of the age literally lived at the boundaries of society.  Most were positioned outside of the main hub of villages, simply because the religious leaders of the times were more than suspicious of their practices which may have included tinctures, potions, charms, amulets, spells or curses.

Even looking toward Shamanism, you see often that the Holy Man was often located at the edge of the encampment.  This was not just a way of separating him from the ‘common’ folk….but a means of protection for the tribe.  His medicine would ward off evil spirits and anyone or anything that would wish harm upon the people.

This book has caused my mind to reel and analyze my own practices.  How many times in a week or month are we approached by those around who know that we are witches and conjurers?  How often do they approach us tentatively for fear that someone in their immediate circle might find out what they are doing?  To whom do we remain in the ‘broom closet?’

I know that many in my own condo complex seek me out to give advice or to interpret the latest dream.  Friends call on me when energies are needed or they want a charm for ‘luck’ or protection.  I am the one in my cube at work that has the scent of lavender wafting around him.  I keep a hag stone with a crow bone hidden under my shirt as an amulet.  I keep a large chunk of amethyst on my desk as a ‘paperweight.’

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As I reclined on the sofa last night, I felt antsy.  The more I tried to relax, the less relaxation would come.  I decided that  it would be the perfect night for magick in the courtyard.  There were breezes blowing…I figured it might be a good night for pushing things out of the way.  I built a fire in the cauldron, settled down in front of it with handfuls of herbs, and addressed the directions, the elements, my guides.  It amazes me how wrapped up people get in the ‘you aren’t doing that the way it is supposed to be done’ mentality.  I have been practicing witchcraft for way too many years to care about the way others think it should be done.  If I have learned one thing about magick…it is the fact that it is ever-changing…so why shouldn’t we be the same.

I love the fact that when my spirit connects with the spirits of my guides and the ancients…there simply is no other way to say it…magick happens. It seems as if the elements dance around me, calling me to fly with them.  It is in this time that it is very evident that the Horned One is very much alive in me.  It is in this season of harvest that I feel that energy for the hunt and the harvest coursing through me.  As the air grows more and more crisp with each day, I feel more and more alive.  It is as if I feel my own energy and virility coursing through. It is in this time that my second sight becomes keener…my sense of smell sharper…my hearing, even more acute.

It is in this time that creativity soars to the surface.  My brain begins to create faster than my hands.  So many thoughts, spells, potions, tools playing chase through my brain.  It is normally in those times that I am most at home in the woods…just at the edge of society.

Most people look forward to the weekend for sleeping late.  I don’t know what that is anymore.  I am most excited by the opportunity to disappear into the woods.  This morning, I woke Friz up before the light of dawn and he and I made our way away from the busy-ness of condo life.  As we rounded that last corner, I recognized a familiar figure.  He was sitting on one of the brick half columns at the edge of the woods.  His knees were up close to his chest and his arms were holding them.  His head was hidden in the nest created by his limbs.  His green cloak covered him completely.  He looked up at me when he heard the rustling of mine and Frisbee’s feet.

He was alone.  I looked for Calliope and then I saw the sadness in his eyes.  We knew she had some years on her…I don’t think he knew exactly how many.  They had gone to sleep together one night, but only one woke up the next morning.  His consolation was knowing that spirit lives forever and that her energy would constantly swirl about him.  Still, that doesn’t make losing a friend any easier.  It was as if Friz sensed the vacancy in his heart.  He extended his feet up the column where the Green Wizard sat.  The Green Wizard shifted so that he could pick him up.  Friz and the Green Wizard nuzzled each other deeply.  Friz looked back at me as if saying, “Is it ok?  He really needs me now.”  I nodded to him and he went back to nuzzling this weathered, saddened young man.

The Green Wizard looked up at me and forced a smile as he tried to clear the giant lump in his throat.  He tried to choke out a sentence, but I stopped him.  I told him that the greatest thing about friends is that words aren’t always needed.  With those words, this tired, dirty, emotionally drained young man wrapped his arms around me.  He has spent his life truly living the life of the Cunning Man.  Always kept at arms length from society.  Walking…always walking….and now alone.

This morning the magick was simple.  It was two men and one blue chihuahua honoring the spirit of a faithful friend.

Blessed Be!

Waiting…Quietly, Waiting

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Some days I wish I could wave my wand and disappear.  Not in a “I am tired of this existence” kind of way…more in a “can I get a little bit of peace and quiet” kind of way.  It seems that this week has been noise on top of noise on top of noise.

The neighbors above us have absolutely no consideration.  They tromp around like a herd of elephants and try their best to asphyxiate me with every cigarette they toss over into my courtyard.  Then there is the crayola haired heifer that lives across the way who is determined to park in the parking space directly in front of my unit and then yell at me when she gets caught.  Lastly, there is the little Mexican man who loves to play mariachi music as loud as his truck speakers can pump it out.

I hate when I have to play the part of the wicked witch.  But some people just bring that out of you.  I decided for the upstairs neighbors benefit, it was time work some magick so that he got a little bit of an eyeful.  I have talked to him nicely about all I can about the noise level.

During the dark moon the other night, I gathered my cauldron and candles, black salt and banishing oil and incense and set up in the middle of the courtyard.  I set everything a-blazing and I created a circle around the courtyard with the black salt.  I sat down in the middle of it and I waited.  The time had to be perfect.  The night was dark and humid.  The wind was still.  I whispered my greeting to the Moon.  I acknowledged and invited the directions and the elements.  Air was the first to join.  I felt the tickle of the smallest breeze against my cheek.  It combined with water (which I provided through sweat).  I ran my fingers through the dirt in front of me and the watched as the cauldron flame finally burst forth and danced in front of me.  Now it was the perfect time.

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As I lifted my voice to call on the Morrigan, the sliding glass doors above me opened.  It was in that moment that crow caws could be heard all over the complex.  One caw….three answered back.  I waited.  I could feel the neighbor straining to see just what I was doing, but I was just out of his range of vision.  I did all my spell work right there under his nose, but in the shadows.  As I finished, I blew out the candles, thanked the elements, directions and the Morrigan.  As I cleaned up the magickal remnants, I saw him up there leaning over the railing.  I smiled brightly and quietly said, “Wonderful night, huh?  Goodnight.”  They have been quiet as church mice since.

I figured while I was on a dark moon roll, I may as well continue.  Well after midnight…when everyone was in bed,  I went out to my parking place, moved my car into another, and drew a banishing sigil with black witches chalk.  It was already sprinkling rain so I knew that the sigil would be gone by morning, but the energy would remain.  I felt almost giddy as I did it…it was like being a child with sidewalk chalk, but with more purpose.  Sometimes, you just get tired of being yelled at when you didn’t do anything.  The next morning, I sat just outside the courtyard.  She circled the parking lot a couple of times and then went and parked in front of her own unit.  black chalkLastly, the little mariachi loving Mexican fellow…this little fellow has been horrified of me since he first walked into the courtyard and found me doing magick.  He always averted his eyes when he saw me and I could always hear him muttering ‘brujo’ under his breath.  I found that the way to keep him in check was when he got out of line…all I had to do was give him the sign for ‘I’ve got my eye on you’ and he would quickly turn the stereo down.  Well, one night last week, it was extremely late and I hear the thump of familiar music outside my bedroom window.  I was far too tired to deal with him, so I just whispered into the air, “Please, Morrigan, deal with him.”  Then I waited.  The next thing I know, flashing lights are outside my bedroom window…I look out and see a firetruck with firemen scouting the area with flashlights.  I see the little Mexican fellow scrambling out of his truck as hard as he can go and falling to the ground as he makes a mad dash for his apartment.  No music after that.brujo

This morning I was craving time by myself.  When you have three adult men, two dogs, and two cats in one apartment, it can seem impossible to get quiet time.  I don’t have a space in the apartment other than my altar space and even that can be overtaken by a fat gray and white cat.  To write in my Book of Shadows, I have to move his hefty rump to the bookcase by the window.  One thing about it though, my Book of Shadows should be more than pleasing to Bast.

I walked out to the woods alone this morning.  I didn’t take a backpack or candles or skulls or wands.  It was just me and the woods.  Friz looked like I had completely forsaken him and I did have to deal with sufficient pouting when I got back.  I leaned against a tree and closed my eyes.  I waited…just waited.  It was like I could breathe again.  I didn’t have to clean up vomit or hairballs or anything else.  I was able to just sit…and wait.  It felt so good not be rushed or hurried or have to worry about noise.  It was wonderful listening to the trees singing to me and in the distance I hear Mama Crow.  She is singing at the top of her lungs, it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t sound like the sparrows. It is her voice.  This was my week for raising my voice…sometimes it isn’t going to be pretty, but it will be effective.  Mama Crow reminds me that sometimes you have to be just a little loud and a little brash to get what needs done, done.

My home is my comfy space.  To me and others it is that cozy space to sit and have a glass of wine or a cup of tea…to lounge in magick every moment you’re there and to feel as if you have been given a comforting hug when you’ve left.  I will protect those feelings…no matter what it takes…like a mama wolf protecting her den.

Blessed Be!radagasts house

So When the Moon Tells You Something… Believe It.

2014-06-14 15.19.13Darkness. That’s the first thing I remember. It was dark, it was cold, and I was scared. But then… then I saw the Moon. It was so big, and it was so bright. It seemed to, chase the darkness away. And when it did… I wasn’t scared anymore.

 

Why is it that all secrets seem to be cloaked in darkness.  We feel that secrets protect us when all they do is hurt us in the long run.  This has been a week of ‘Can you keep a secret’s.’  The truth is, no, I can’t.  My face gives me away every time.  If I even try to tell the smallest white lie, I go all red in the face…I giggle like a twelve year old trying to tell a dirty joke, and I try to escape.

I remember when I was a small child, my father had planned a surprise for my mom’s birthday.  Everyone around her was sworn to secrecy.  My mom comes into the room one afternoon as we were making plans and asked what we were doing.  Yes….you guessed it…I sang like a canary.

When I joined the ministry, I was scared to death.  I had heard all of these pastors around talk about ‘pastor/parishioner confidentiality.’  It horrified me.  I did find, however, that it was totally different than telling a lie or keeping a secret.  It was just a matter of not acknowledging the information at all.  Even now, at work, if someone comes up and says, “So you’re gay?  So you’re a witch?”  I just smile and answer with yes…it just saves me the stress of trying to hide it.

I determined very early in my life that I would never give anyone the stress of holding onto my secrets.  I never wanted anyone else to feel that feeling that I would get in the pit of my stomach when someone asked me for information that I had promised to guard.  It was in those early years that I began telling my secrets to the moon.  I could whisper them or yell them, she never ridiculed me and she never told those secrets to anyone.2014-06-04 08.50.15

Lately, I have come to trust others with my secrets.  Now I share those secrets with Wolf and Crow.  Wolf guards them ferociously and Crow takes them high into the sky on her wings and drops them among the clouds.  I am never threatened with them coming back at me at the wrong time.

I remember the hardest secret I ever had to keep.  It came about when I began my first long-term relationship.  I had been dating a wonderful man for about four months and like was turning into love.  He was tall, dark, and handsome…an ex-marine.  When he held me in his strong arms, the world stood still.  He invited me to his apartment for dinner one evening and after we ate, he sat me down on his sofa and said softly, “I need to talk to you about something.”  My heart broke many times in that moment.  I imagined everything from him breaking up with me to him telling me he was moving out of state or re-enlisting.nightmares

He grabbed my hand and told me, “Now you can’t tell anyone.  I am trusting you with my life.  I am HIV positive.”  You have to remember that this was in the days before much was known about the disease and everyone was afraid.  I was just as afraid, but my love for him was stronger than any disease or any fear.

I stayed at his place that night.  After he went to sleep, I opened the french doors to his balcony and walked out into the moonlight.  I called to the moon and I sighed deeply as she appeared before me.  I whispered my troubles and secrets into her ear.  The moon always actively listened and sent her energy to strengthen and to hold me up. She was full that night.

I think it is funny…the things that follow us through our lives.  As much as I leaned on the moon for strength in those years…she has always been there.  Nowadays, she has learned to text…”You OK?”  I text back that I am ok.  Somehow, she always knows when I am not being completely honest.

I have heard some of our friends simply call her ‘the Moon Lady.’  To me, she will always be ‘Maluna’ and to me that will always mean ‘my moon.’  It seems that she has always been there…I have known her in my heart and spirit for as long as I have known the moon herself.  When we talk, it isn’t about secrets…it is about where our energies and magick can better be spent.

Thursday night, I got home late…honestly just in time for the full moon.  I gathered everything with me, except Friz.  He fought valiantly to stay up until I got home, but sleep won that battle. I walked to the woods in silence…almost a feeling of reverence under the moonlight.  I could hear her calling.  We needed to talk.  As I settled into the warmth of the night with my cauldron and candles burning, I could feel her energy soaking into me.  She has always been faithful to me…even when I felt like I was alone.

I have honestly never been alone.  The moon is who called Wolf and Crow to me.  It was under that moon that Friz was dedicated.  It was under that same moon that I made promises to my first partner and also that moon where I made promises to my current partner.  She is an old friend…she is there through every season of the year and through every season of my life.  She is the one who first called me the Weathered Wiseman, and she will be the last one to call me that name.  It is by her that I rest and by her sleep that I awaken.  It is the moon who promised that magick would always encompass and encircle me.

I share that magick with you.  So when the Moon tells you something… believe it.2014-06-14 21.44.57

The Raven Himself Is Hoarse…

burning crowCircling, waiting…poised to lunge.

Snarling, snapping…toward me you plunge.

You cannot touch me…Wards around.

The space around me is sacred ground.

Only troubles for you are found

Inside my circle made.

 

My spirit guides encamp around.

Your intentions now are bound.

You won’t come near me;

my chest I pound.

Your empty threats now fade.

 

Elements, directions, show your power.

Wolf and Crow, threats devour.

All multiply by three.

 

Seal this with the Moon’s embrace.

Begone from me without a trace.

Nevermore, I’ll see your face.

As I will, mote it be.

There have been some strange energies floating around the neighborhood over the past week…not just the neighborhood, though…big parts of Atlanta.  It has been like watching a television show where mental instability is the major theme.

I know that Atlanta traffic can be harrowing in itself…but I have watched this week as drivers seriously try to run each other off the road.  I watched in horror yesterday as an SUV came within inches of a sedan…forcing the sedan off onto the shoulder.  The driver of the SUV railing his fist out of the window and yelling obscenities.  I have watched in my own condo complex as gangs of kids walk the streets after hours, trying to bully anyone who reprimands them.  The police have been out here at least three times this week.bear

The neighbors have become combative and possessive. Energies have been way over the top. It feels like I have done more banishing and warding than ever before in my life.  On top of the anger that seems to be coming from all directions, crazy seems to have reared its head too. Not only are we dealing with the nasty neighbors, but at midnight we are hearing the unstable woman in the corner walking to the dumpster singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the top of her lungs.  I have been battling insomnia all week long so hearing “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…” swelling through my bedroom windows don’t make me any more friendly in the mornings either.

I find myself going out in my witchy garb now just to scare the piss out of the neighbors.  They already look at me with a cocked eyebrow when I am out…but most everyone seems to leave me alone. Of course, though, you are always going to get that one neighbor who is going to try to pick a fight.  Early this morning I encountered her.  She was bitching about me parking in front of my own unit and then when I drove to the post office, she put her car in my place.  I put a note on the car asking her to park in front of her own unit…then it hit.  I got blasted.  She railed up one side of me and down the other.  I wish I could say that I was the model witch.  I wish I could say that I kept my cool.  I didn’t.  There was fire in my eyes and my heart….there was anger overtaking me.  What I was feeling came from deep inside my belly.  I looked at her and essentially said, “Do you have any idea who you are dealing with?”   I pointed at her and began an incantation….not the one above.  I created that to combat all the anger and negativity coming from all sides…and the gang mentality here.  Well, that woman got in her car and practically squealed her tires as she moved to the front of her unit. 2014-02-25 22.23.00

Shortly after, Friz and I took our walk.  I decided that today would be a good day to go to the pond.  To me, water energy seemed to be calling.  I needed the calmness, the coolness. I laid down on my stomach and swirled my fingers through the water.  I wrote my name in the water and watched the ripples reach farther and farther.  Friz climbed up on my back and patted my head with his paw and then proceeded to lick the top of my head.  This gentle pup was the same one who puffed out his chest and angrily barked at the gang of teenagers huddled outside talking about what trouble they could get into last night.

After my time at the pond, I took Friz back to the condo and then my partner and I got ready to go to a friend’s pool.  It was a wonderful time to soak up the power and light of the sun and to absorb the cool and calmness of the pool water.

Tonight, though, it was time for more spellwork.  I brought out my cauldron and dried nettles.  I had collected paper that the teen-aged gang had left…candy wrappers.  I also had one of the notes that the woman had left on my car along with something I had seen the “Battle Hymn” woman drop.  I combined all of this in my cauldron with just a tiny bit of denatured alcohol and copper sulfate (it makes a beautiful green flame).  I watched as the flames burned away the issues…and chanted the spell at the beginning of the blog.  As I brought everything to a close, I called on dragons and gryphons to guard my household…to fight off anything that I did not invite in.

There will be no more insomnia starting tonight. I will not tolerate the energy that has been swirling around the complex like a rogue hurricane. Sometimes you have to fight. Sometimes you have to let it fly. I am fine with being nice. I am not fine with little bogey men running around me trying to control every aspect of my life. I will take charge and it will be gone. So mote it be.

An Ounce of Intention…

intentionsWe always have the best intentions, don’t we?  I’m talking about the “Oh, someday I will….”  Well, lately I have been in a whirlwind of newness and changes and plodding forwards.  One thing that I have learned about life over the years is that it and time never stand still for anyone….they never wait on you.  You either move with them…alongside of them or you get left in the dust to wonder why your life never changes.

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By now, readers, you know that one of my spirit animals is Crow.  I ran across this wonderful bit of information this week:

Crow is the left-handed guardian. Crow knows the unknowable mysteries of creation and is the keeper of all sacred law. There are several species of crow. Raven is one of these and magpies are another. Crow medicine people are masters of illusion. Do not try to figure crow out. It is the power of the unknown at work, and something special is about to happen.

If you have a crow as a totem, you need to be willing to walk your talk and speak your truth. You must put aside your fear of being a voice in the wilderness and “caw” the shots as you see them. Crow is an omen of change. If he keeps appearing to you he may be telling you that you have a powerful voice when addressing issues that you do not quite understand or feel that they are out of balance.

Crows are the bringer of messages from the spirit world, and is thought to dwell beyond the realm of time and space.

When you meet crow, he could be telling you that there will be changes in your life and that possibly you should step by the usual way you view reality and look into the inner realms …walk your talk…be prepared to let go of your old thinking and embrace a new way of viewing yourself and the world.

Crow is the sacred keeper of the law. Crow medicine signifies a firsthand knowledge of a higher order of right and wrong than that indicated by the laws created in human culture. With Crow medicine, you speak in a powerful voice when addressing issues that for you seem out of harmony, out of balance, out of whack, or unjust.

When you learn to allow your personal integrity to be your guide, your sense of feeling alone will vanish. Your personal will can then emerge so that you will stand in your truth. The prime path of true Crow people says to be mindful of your opinions and actions. Be willing to walk your talk, speak your truth, know your life’s mission, and balance past, present, and future in the now. Shape shift that old reality and become your future self. Allow the bending of physical laws to aid in creating the shape shifted world of peace.

I have, as of late, been steadily on the path of self-discovery.  Finding out more and more each day who I truly am.  It has required much discipline and willingness to look inside and dig out the thorns of the past that have been buried so deeply for so many years.  It has also required me to learn to ‘get over myself.’  I have had to learn which habits have hindered me from reaching full potential.

Being a witch encompasses so many things…..it encompasses sharing power with nature and animals and spirits of all sorts.  These are magnificent and wonderful responsibilities.  In my soul searching over the past few months, I realize that it means so much more.  Being a witch, to me, means genuinely being who you say you are and respecting the rights of others for being who they say they are.  Do  you have to like who they are?  No.  Is it any of your business? No.  To me, it compares with being gay.  Do I want or need anyone’s opinions in my bedroom? No…no more than I need them in my cauldron.  If I say that I am the Weathered Wiseman, though, I had better walk it wholeheartedly and uncompromisingly.

I have also learned to be mindful of the energy I surround myself with. I have spent more time over the last few months blocking and banishing the energy of others that hangs off of you like one hundred pound weights and sucks every ounce of life and joy out of you.  I have found that what was required was eliminating that from my life all together.  If that means walking away from certain people because they refuse to take the steps required to change or improve themselves, then that is what I have done.  I have had to make the difficult decision of distancing myself from our roommate.  He has been offered the opportunity over and over again to better himself, but chooses to wallow in the muck and mire of circumstance and self pity.  While I feel like I am a very strong person, I am not strong enough to carry another human through life.

maya

My beautiful friend Maluna said it best during the waning moon:

Last day of the waning moon….it’s been very productive…but looking forward to the new….new projects, plans, moving forward…always….it’s time to banish the unwanted, things not necessary, simplify and enjoy the warm days of summer. With this new moon….growth, gardens, summer trips, children out of school, new adventures, fresh produce, exercise, a healthier lifestyle. So much to look forward to!

Society has taught us to no longer look forward….always back.  I have learned that the only reason I need to look back is to see how far I have come.  I choose not to whine about the things I don’t have, but to enjoy and be thrilled with what I do.  I can take a lesson from my partner in this.  He can be very child-like at times.  He looks at something and most times can see the wonder and newness in it.  He can easily get lost in the fun of some of the most mundane situations.  He believes in meeting the immediate need.  He saw an old orange cat wandering the complex a couple weeks back….nowadays, most people would call the pound.  He called the cat over to a bowl of food and then made him a place to sleep.

I have determined that I am looking forward from now on (for the most part).  When you walk, you don’t walk backward….obstacles constantly get in the way. You always walk forward with a purpose.  This morning, I got up around 5:30am and Friz and I headed toward the woods.  Friz can sometimes get tangled up in his surroundings because he likes to meander.  Friz had his head to the ground sniffing….and as he did, he wandered into some branches that had fallen from the rainstorm yesterday.  His leash got tangled first…then his feet…until Friz was rendered completely immobile by this branch.  The only thing he knew to do was to look up at me and whimper.  I spent a good part of fifteen minutes getting him loose.  Afterwards, he decided to bark at the mean old branch that caused him so much trauma.  It didn’t seem to matter that he wasn’t paying attention to begin with.

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But you know, isn’t that how we are?  It is often easier to get mad at what gets us tangled up than to be accountable for the fact that it was our carelessness that brought us there to start with.  Even better, it is easier for us to play the part of that person who has it all together and look down our nose at others as the dirt castle around us turns to mud…or we are that person who people have invested themselves and their energy in…but we choose not to change ourselves at all…we enjoy the attention we get by whining and being the victim.  No matter what the scenario…it is time to change.  It is time to be the genuine you.  Will everyone like you?  No.  Will everyone hate you? No….but who cares.

We, as witches and magick workers, have learned over and over that the spellwork is about the intent.  Isn’t it time that we actually poured some intent into our own lives?  You aren’t going to be happy 100% of the time, but you can be content.  This morning, when I went to the woods with Friz, I took ‘flying paper.’  I wrote goals for the next few months on each sheet, twisted them just a bit, then set them on fire.  I watched as they soared upward….giving wings to my intentions.  I smiled as I watched them fly.  I laughed at the little blue chihuahua chasing them as they rose.  He was so traumatized only minutes earlier, but now all was forgotten as he chased hopes that were lifting toward the sky.

Isn’t it time to finally live life with a purpose and stop winding ourselves tighter?  I choose to watch my intentions soar.

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The Things We Search For Were Really Never Lost

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I have pushed myself so hard this week.  I have always been my harshest critic.  I can’t perform any less than 110% when it comes to anything.  Most would say that this comes from a childhood of always feeling as though I had to compete for approval. Not true.  My grandmothers made sure that I was made to feel important no matter what.  They were the foundation of my strength of heart…they always told me that there was something inside of me that no one else would ever be able to possess or take away from me.

Normally, when I would have a week like this one has been, I would be able to call either one or both of my grandmas and the sound of their voices would bring peace.  Their voices…I never thought I would have to learn to live without those voices.

It was in the midst of this week that I found my mind…my body….my very heart and spirit craving the elements around me.  There is a large maple tree just outside of our courtyard wall.  On Wednesday afternoon, I got home at the regular time….I could feel the weight of pushing myself exhausting me.  I stopped.  Only for a moment and leaned against that large old maple tree.  It was as if I could hear the voices of my grandmothers whispering in my ears again.

Once I had gotten inside and changed out of business casual into backyard grunge, I went back into the courtyard and started digging in the dirt….just to get that cool damp feeling on my hands…that connection to the Great Mother.2014-03-26 22.37.11

 

Friday I craved contact with water…..it was as if all day long I could not get enough water into my system.  I drank water non-stop.  It was rainy most of the day here….there was a part of me that did not want to come inside.  I hungered to be out among the rain drops…feeling the rhythm against me and around me.  Again, when I got home from work, I stood in the midst of a short rain shower….feeling it wash me from head to toe.  I could feel the rush and pressure from the week washing away as each drop caressed me.  I sat in the middle of the courtyard…smelling each plant as it soaked in the nourishment.

The rain continued into the morning today.  I took a clue from Friz and spent more time smelling the air and enjoying the clean feeling that only rain water can bring.  I wore a tshirt and shorts out and walked barefoot in the mud.  Sometimes, it is just being able to feel the wet earth under my feet that keep me grounded.

2014-03-26 22.37.04This afternoon, my time with wind came.  We had just gotten back from the grocery store (where a crow perched on the shopping cart beside the car….scared my partner to death).  As we were getting out of the car in front of the condo, a strong cool wind came up.  My partner mentioned that it got really cool quickly and the wind was so strong.  He ran inside with the groceries, but there I stood in the courtyard with my arms spread like I was ready to take flight.  I believe if I had concentrated hard enough, I may have gotten lift off….and damn! My besom was inside.  I could hear the throaty laugh of Mama Crow in the branches above me.  She sensed my joy in the breeze.  She sensed my hunger to be a part of air.

2014-03-26 22.37.01 I could not leave my old friend fire out of the circle.  Tonight, just before sunset, I went to the woods with my smaller cauldron.  I sat down in the cool leaves and put my altar in place.  I brought some dry leaves with me and set them to smolder in the cauldron along with some sticks and incense.  I watched as the fire danced in front of me.  Something about watching those red-orange flames burning away the deadness of the sticks and leaves leapt into my spirit.  I stood and danced with the flame.  Sometimes I have to abandon all feelings of ‘what if someone sees me’ and just do what my spirit is compelled to do…..it is the most freeing experience that I could ever describe.  Too often we become bound up in what is proper and what is ‘normal’ that we forget that freedom that magick brings…and the relationship to the masculine and feminine divine.

I had a wonderful dream last night.  I was trekking through the mountains.  The air was cool.  The sun was shining all around.  There were a few other people there that I knew.  I remember meeting my old friend wolf in a grassy field.  We wrestled and tumbled.  I laughed until my stomach hurt.  I went into the small log cabin with wolf at my side.  In the cabin was a dark haired, dark eyed woman….a witch of Nordic descent.  I knew this woman and I knew her well.  She was extremely gifted in psychic abilities and divination with candles.  I remember after laughing and talking to her, going to a cabinet to get the candles out.  As I looked at each candle, runes appeared on the bottoms of each.  I remember that I could read them very clearly.  One, in particular, carried the words, “There has been a path forged before you by the ancients.”  It essentially told me that the path I am on… I am not to venture off of.

Carter-Shields-Cabin

 

As I think back on it….a friend brought it up tonight, the woman in my dream was a part of me.  It is the part of me that I still search for…the part of me that I enjoy the company of, but haven’t entirely embraced.  Maybe now is the time.

Blessed Be!

I Am the Weathered Wiseman, and I Live at the Edge of the Forest…

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For as long as I can remember…I have always retreated to the woods.  It didn’t matter if things were good or bad….the woods called me to a place that I could not access anywhere else.

I remember when I was younger, 8 or 9, my mom would have my grandma tell me the stories about the Booger Woods to try to keep me from disappearing amongst the trees behind the house.  Little did she know that later on, my grandma was pulling me aside to tell me that as long as I walked hand in hand with the tree spirits, the four-leggeds and the winged ones, that they would never allow anything to hurt me.

Most of the time, I would pull my shoes off at the back door and make a run for those woods.  I have always been able to feel the call of the trees and critters that lived there.  I never knew any kind of fear of any of the animals there.  I can close my eyes and remember sitting there among deer and foxes and birds galore.  Isn’t it funny?  Children don’t know that they aren’t able to do things until adults tell them that it just isn’t possible.  I never knew that it wasn’t possible to carry on conversations with my four-legged and winged friends.  I would sit for hours talking to an old fox that my mom was quite sure was vicious.  I would take bread out by the buckets and feed the crows and all the other birds.  I never knew that a crow was supposed to be a nuisance.  To me, they were friends.  I remember how mad my dad used to get with me because most of the time I had a ton of birds following me.

One animal that always called to me as a child was the hedgehog.  I remember a cousin of mine had one and everybody thought that that little hedgehog was mean.  I have never been afraid of any animal…now that doesn’t mean that I didn’t approach carefully and with the utmost respect…and was absolutely enthralled with this little hedgehog.  I went over to my cousins one afternoon and we were sitting in the floor.  That little hedgehog was out running around.  He ran up onto my leg and curled up in my lap and went to sleep.  My cousin couldn’t believe it as I sat there and rubbed that little hedgehog’s belly as he snoozed on my lap.128326692466252947

I preface with all of that information, so that I could talk about my trip to the woods yesterday.  Friz and I slept in a bit yesterday, so the sun was already up when we headed outside.  I had my cloak on and the backpack packed.  It is so funny to watch how excited that little blue dog gets when he sees a loaded down backpack.  He took care of whatever business he needed to take care of before we plodded down the sidewalk.  As we got closer to the edge of the woods, the energy of nature itself bathed us from head to toe.

I unloaded the backpack and placed the candles and the skulls and my cauldron.  I felt that incense needed to be burned today, so I pulled out some the wonderful woodsy, earthy incense that a friend sent me.  As I sat there in front of the cauldron with my legs crossed, Friz crawled into the hollow that my legs made and curled up.  I should have taken that as an omen of things to come.  Wolf and Crow energy manifested quickly….but there was energy coming forth that had not been there with me before.  I recognized this energy from my childhood….it was hedgehog energy.tumblr_mn2bcgPhOW1sn1e5oo1_500

The woods seemed to dance around me.  The birds sang even more excitedly welcoming this new energy.  The trees swayed rhythmically to welcome our new friend.  I thought that it was no coincidence that Friz seemed to pull himself into an even tighter ball as he napped between my legs.   I leaned back and soaked up the sun peeking through the leaves of the trees above.  My hands were flat against the earth and I could feel her wonderful soothing heartbeat against my palms.  It felt as if I was seeing everything around me with new eyes.  I inhaled deep and could feel that wonderful earthy, woodsy incense pulling deep into my chest….building a strength and hope.  I could feel it pulling up wonderful memories of past times of playfulness and I had to take my shoes off and run my toes into the dirt of the floor of the woods.  Even though it was chilly out, there was something that kept pulling me closer and closer to the earth.

I cleaned up and Friz ambled around me smelling the incense and the skulls.  We walked leisurely  back to the condo and I settled down onto the couch….I had to look up hedgehog energy and symbolisms.  This is what I found:

The hedgehog is symbolic of fertility and being connected to the earth. It’s belly is close to the Mother (earth, that is) and this close proximity is symbolic of its connection to earth and all that is fertile. The hedgehog’s tendency to curl up in the fetal position is also a message of centering, and connecting with the source.

Further, central Asia and parts of Iran associated agricultural abundance, fertility and the gift of fire to the hedgehog. In these cultures it is considered a solar power animal, and is strongly connected to the energy and vitality of the sun. This may be further understood when we think of the hedgehog’s splayed spikes look much like the spanning rays of the sun.

Being a nocturnal creature, the symbolism of the hedgehog deals with intuition, psychic ability, prophetic dreams and visions. This is because the night deals with concepts that are cloaked in shadow – a realm that is not altogether clear. That the hedgehog’s active time is at night is symbolic of “second sight.”

Another testimony to its spiritual power is the hedgehog’s natural resistence to snake venom. This is carries extreme importance with many Native American Indian tribes and is seen as a symbol of victory over evil. This attribute is also a portent of resurrection, life after death, or defeating death completely.hobb5

This little critter packs a powerful punch!  So many things to learn from it.  I appreciate what the Lord and Lady have given me and helped me to nurture in my relationships with animals as I have grown in the Craft…..but I do miss sometimes the innocence of childhood.  I talk to the animals around me all the time, but fear of other humans and what they may do to them keeps them from getting too close.  I miss the days of lying barefoot under a canopy of trees and chattering away with the fox and the deer (and the one my mom hated) the snake.  I have had it proven to me over and over that their energy seeks me out, but still I miss the contact.  They teach me constantly.

Blessed Be!tumblr_mubrajT6PH1rjdnouo1_500